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    Madonna mentor hits at Vande Mataram issue

    By Staff

    Friday, September 01, 2006

    Varanasi (UNI): A Sanskrit scholar here accredited with correcting the pronunciation of Sanskrit 'shlokas' by pop diva Madonna in her album 'Ray of Light' today hit out against those not willing to recite Vande Mataram on September 7 -- the centenary of the national song. Interacting with mediapersons here, Dr Vagish Shastri said he was upset at the ''erroneous interpretation'' of the national song by a section of society. ''The confusion is there mainly due to the wrong interpretation of the word 'Vande', derived from Sanskrit root 'Vand', which is in no way synonymous with 'Bandagi', a formation of the word 'Banda' in Persian language,'' said the noted linguist. The word 'Bandagi' meant prayer to God, while the word 'Vande' meant salutation or praise to someone respectable and not prayer, Dr Shastri claimed.

    Expressing concern over misinterpretation of the word 'Vande' to generate an unnecessary controversy, Dr Shastri said those, who were explaining the meaning of Vande Mataram without having any authority on the language, should first try to understand its true meaning. The government and politicians should consult Sanskrit scholars on this matter to dispel misconceptions among a section, he maintained. ''Vande Mataram means admiring or greeting the 'mother' not offering prayer to her like a prayer to the Almighty. Hence, Muslims should have no objection in reciting it,'' he said, adding. They (Muslims) should not be misguided on the issue, but instead needed to introspect and explore the soul of the patriotic song.

    The master of 'Kundalani Yoga,' who has authored several books on different subjects including Yoga and linguistics, had in 1998 criticised Madonna's pronunciation of the sacred hymns of Yoga Taravali in her album 'Ray of Light.' Responding to his criticism Madonna lamented to him about the mistake on phone, besides hearing from him the correct pronunciation of the 'shlokas.' The 'Material Girl' had also expressed a wish to learn Sanskrit from the scholar, whose real name is Bhagirath Prasad Tripathi, but the desire remains unfulfilled till date.

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